Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Blessings

Christmas, the date on the calendar, may find each of us in very different places: we may be sad and alone or we may be celebrating with family; we may be in church praising God or we may be at home lost in doubt; we may feel full of love and gratitude or we may be overcome with guilt and unworthiness. Each of us is on our own unique journey - and our journeys are often not easy.
Christmas, the eternal truth, is with us at every moment. God coming among us, becoming us, self-emptying into humanness, that we might know love and hope and mercy, is here with me and with you. He is here, in the midst of our sadness, doubt and worry as much as he is in the midst of our celebration and joy. He came to share in all of our human experience - no matter how painful.
Not only did He come to join us - but also to lead us to our true Home. To welcome us into the Love that is Him. There is much I need to learn in order to follow Him there. I must travel His path, not my own. I need to learn all of those things that my self resists: forgiveness and obedience and humility.
Of course, I do not know how to do any of this. But come, let us walk together. Let us pray for each other (even if we do not know how to pray). Let us open ourselves to this possibility, this promise of hope, that is so much beyond our understanding.
Wherever you are on your personal journey, know that I as praying with you and for you. I am not praying as one who has arrived or who knows the answers but as one more lost soul is search of true Home. Grace and peace be with you. 

winter mother

i come to the earth; she comes to me.

at first i judge her empty, barren.

where are her blossoms and seeds?

                           yet she pours out her life for me,

                           swirling and splashing joyfully

                           around the boulders of my discontent.

and when i am done complaining
(moaning that she is too cold)
she warms me with her sparkling smile.
                          she dances me through crevices
                          and into her palace of ice
                          where even shadows shine brilliant white.
come, she says, come with me.
enter the glory of His radiant light.
seek, seek the gift of endless giving.

                          in frozen wonder she teaches me...
                          i come to Him, He comes to me.
                          lovingly giving in endless praise.
I took these photos at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis where I am visiting family. It was a place often visited during my childhood and it was exciting to see the Falls almost completely frozen. The poem was written the day after the photos were taken, as part of a "poetry party" conducted by the online Abbey I follow:
OK, I have one more photo I couldn't fit in... But let it mean this: if you are feeling alone or sad, may this picture be a reminder that we are spiritually connected to each other and therefore not truly alone. More so - our Creator does not leave us alone and has built a bridge to meet us. Christmas greetings coming soon!
(If you wish to see any of the photos in more detail, click on them. As always, you are welcome to download any of my photos or text for personal, nonprofit use.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A beautiful life

(Below is the text and the photo album that were combined to create the video above. As always, you are welcome to download any photos or text for your personal, nonprofit use.)


This is the story of a beautiful life.

However, that does not mean that every moment of that life felt beautiful or looked beautiful.

In fact, it began in death. The shell of last year's life remained in the spring, a reminder of the tomb from which its seed came forth. From its inception, this life began a journey that would eventually render it an empty shell as well. But that did not stop it from making the journey.

This life began as a seed buried in the rich soil of last year's decay. It began before human eyes could even see it or know that it was there. But the little life grew and grew until it made itself known, a green stalk with leaves that opened wide to the sun. Its single straight root held it deeply to the earth, ever faithful to the place of its beginning.

As this life grew and grew, it drew other lives to it: insects that fed upon it and worked upon it, both destroying and nurturing its future. And it grew and grew until it proudly held forth its buds to the sun, inviting this great Light to open its tightness into blossoms. And so It did.

Then came the bees. With them came fertile time, a pregnancy of swelling that pushed aside the proud blossoms into withered nothing. And the swelling continued, the life's many wombs bloating forth with unseen treasure.

Finally the days came when its secrets could be held no longer. Cracking, stretching, breaking, painfully and powerfully, its inner magnificence burst forth. Into the wind it sent its seed to spread, into the Light its glory born.

It birthed and it birthed until there was nothing left. Seeds upon seeds it birthed, emptying itself into the Great Life. And its own emptiness it did not mind.

It was indeed a beautiful life...

A beautiful life